US 7601657 B2
An elastic laminate capable of being rolled for storage and unwound from a roll when needed for use, includes an elastic layer selected from the group consisting of an array of continuous filament strands, an array of continuous filament strands with meltblown deposited on the continuous filament strands, and a film; a gatherable facing layer bonded to only one side of the elastic layer; and either an adhesive that demonstrates a relatively short open time deposited between the elastic layer and facing layer, or such adhesive and a postbonding adhesive or nonblocking agent, or a nonblocking agent layer deposited on the elastic layer on a side opposite to the facing layer.
1. A single sided elastic laminate capable of being rolled for storage and unwound from said roll when needed for use, said elastic laminate comprising:
an elastic layer comprising continuous filament strands;
a gatherable facing layer bonded to only one side of said elastic layer;
an adhesive that demonstrates an open time of between about 0.2 seconds and 3 seconds deposited between said elastic layer and said facing layer; and
a layer which comprises a meltblown fibrous nonblocking agent applied to the elastic layer in an amount of between about 0.2 and 2.0 gsm, whereby said layer which comprises a meltblown fibrous nonblocking agent is not in contact with said facing layer or said adhesive when unwound, wherein said layer which comprises the meltblown fibrous nonblocking agent is adhered to the elastic layer forming a not gathered layer.
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The present invention relates to continuous filament and film-based stretch bonded laminate materials for use on or in various personal care products, and other products requiring stretch capability, and manufacturing methods for making such stretch bonded laminate materials.
The term “stretch bonded laminate” refers to a composite elastic material made according to a stretch bonding lamination process, i.e., elastic layer(s) are joined together with additional facing layers when only the elastic layer is in an extended condition (such by at least about 25 percent of its relaxed length) so that upon relaxation of the layers, the additional layer(s) is/are gathered. Such laminates usually have machine directional (MD) stretch properties and may be subsequently stretched to the extent that the additional (typically nonelastic) material gathered between the bond locations allows the elastic material to elongate. One type of stretch bonded laminate is disclosed, for example, by U.S. Pat. No. 4,720,415 to Vander Wielen et al., in which multiple layers of the same polymer produced from multiple banks of extruders are used. Other composite elastic materials are disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,775 to Wright and copending U.S. patent Publication No. 2002-0104608, published 8 Aug. 2002, each of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety. Such stretch bonded laminates may include an elastic component that is a web, such as a meltblown web, a film, an array/series of generally parallel continuous filament strands (either extruded or pre-formed), or a combination of such. The elastic layer is bonded in a stretched condition to two inelastic or extendable nonwoven facing materials, such that the resulting laminate is imparted with a textural feel that is pleasing on the hand. In particular, the elastic layer is bonded between the two facing layers, such that the facing layers sandwich the elastic layer. In some instances, the gatherable facing layers may also be necked, such that the stretch bonded laminate is actually a necked stretch bonded laminate that may have some extension/elasticity in the cross-machine direction (CD).
To “neck” or “necked” refers to a process of tensioning a fabric in a particular direction thereby reducing the width dimension of the fabric in the direction perpendicular to the direction of tension. For example, tensioning a nonwoven fabric in the MD causes the fabric to “neck” or narrow in the CD and give the necked fabric CD stretchability. Examples of such extensible and/or elastic fabrics include, but are not limited to, those described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,965,122 to Morman et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 5,336,545 to Morman et al. each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
“Neck bonding” refers to the process wherein an elastic member is bonded to a non-elastic member while only the non-elastic member is extended or necked so as to reduce its dimension in the direction orthogonal to the extension. “Neck bonded laminate” refers to a composite elastic material made according to the neck bonding process, i.e., the layers are joined together when only the non-elastic layer is in an extended/necked condition. Such laminates usually have cross directional stretch properties. Further examples of neck-bonded laminates are such as those described in U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,226,992, 4,981,747 to Morman and U.S. Pat. No. 5,514,470 to Haffner et al., each of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
“Neck-stretch bonding” generally refers to a process wherein an elastic member is bonded to another member while the elastic member is extended (such as by about 25 percent of its relaxed length) and the other layer is a necked, non-elastic layer. “Neck-stretch bonded laminate” refers to a composite elastic material made according to the neck-stretch bonding process, i.e., the layers are joined together when both layers are in an extended condition and then allowed to relax. Such laminates usually have multi-directional stretch properties.
Such stretch bonded laminates may be used to provide elasticity to various components of a personal care product and with the added benefit of a pleasant fabric-like touch, such as a diaper liner or outercover, diaper waist band material, diaper leg gasketing (cuff) material, diaper ear portions, (that is the point of attachment of a fastening system to a diaper), as well as side panel materials for diapers and child training pants. Since such materials often come in contact with skin of a human body, it is desirable that such materials be relatively soft to the touch, rather than rubbery in their feel (a sensation common for elastic materials). Such materials may likewise provide elasticity and comfort for materials that are incorporated into protective workwear, such as surgical gowns, face masks and drapes, labcoats, or protective outercovers, such as car, grill or boat covers.
While such soft and stretchy materials have assisted in making such elastic materials more user-friendly, there is still a need for such products that provide even more of a cloth-like fabric feel. In this regard, there is a need for such materials that provide even higher levels of gathering. Further, there is a need for such laminate products with even greater flexibility as a result of reduced overall basis weight. There is likewise a need for a laminate material that provides reduced stiffness as a result of the elimination of one facing layer on the laminate and the use of lower basis weight elastic layer components. Such a laminate would be more efficient in its use as an elastic material. Such a laminate could provide ease of use/extension, with better ability to retract since there would be no drag of extra facing layers. Essentially, such a laminate would provide for higher levels of retraction with lower weights of polymer. However, even with all of these perceived benefits, to date a single sided stretch bonded laminate (that is a stretch bonded laminate with a gatherable facing layer on only one side) has been elusive because of manufacturing challenges.
In utilizing stretch bonded laminates that themselves incorporate an adhesive component, it has been desirable to select adhesives that do not add to the stiffness of the material. Such stiffness has a negative impact on the overall feel of the product and the ability of the product to provide stretch attributes when in use. It therefore would be desirable to develop additional adhesive arrangements that would not negatively impact laminate material feel and performance, while still allowing for the formation of a single sided material.
Many adhesives are typically somewhat elastic themselves, and tend to retain some level of tackiness even after they are dried or cured. As a result, because of their inherent tackiness, it has been necessary, at least with respect to filament, film, and web based stretch bonded laminates, to utilize facings on both sides of the center elastic component (i.e. filament array), so as to avoid roll blocking during processing/storage. For the purposes of this application, the terms “roll blocking” and “roll sticking” shall be used interchangeably, and shall refer to the propensity of tacky films, tacky filament arrays or other tacky sheet materials to stick to themselves upon being rolled up for storage, prior to final use. Such roll blocking may prevent use of the material contained on a roll as a result of the inability to unwind such rolled material when it is actually needed. In filament-based stretch bonded laminates, adhesive is often applied to the facing layers themselves, and then the facing layers are combined in a nip with the filament array between them. Such an arrangement may generally be described as an ABA laminate, where A is a facing layer and B is an elastic layer.
While it would be desirable to reduce the basis weight of the stretch bonded laminate such that the material is less costly and more flexible, it has been heretofore unclear how to eliminate the extra facing layer(s) without causing the rolled material to stick, if it is to be stored prior to use. It is therefore desirable to have a single sided stretch-bonded laminate that demonstrates acceptable elastic performance, but that is also capable of being stored on a roll without concern for roll blocking. It is also desirable to have a material that may be maintained on a roll under acceptable storage conditions, such as for a given period of time, and at a range of temperatures. It is to such needs that the current invention is directed.
An elastic laminate capable of being rolled for storage, and unwound from a roll when needed for use, includes an elastic layer selected from the group consisting of an array of continuous filament strands, an array of continuous filament strands with meltblown deposited thereon, and a film; and a gatherable facing layer bonded to only one side of the elastic layer. The elastic laminate further includes either an adhesive that demonstrates a relatively short open time deposited between the elastic layer and the gatherable facing layer, or a nonblocking agent layer deposited on the elastic layer, on a side opposite to the facing layer.
In an alternate embodiment, when the elastic laminate is rolled upon itself, it can be unwound for future use and demonstrates a peel strength from a roll (while it is being unwound) of less than about 200 gf. In yet another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate demonstrates a peel strength from a roll of less than about 100 g. In yet another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate demonstrates a peel strength from a roll of less than about 50 g.
In still a further alternative embodiment, the elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer that demonstrates an open time of between about 0.2 seconds and 1 minute. In yet another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer that demonstrates an open time between about 0.2 seconds and 3 seconds. In yet another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer that demonstrates an open time between about 0.5 seconds and 2 seconds. In still another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer, wherein the adhesive is applied in an amount less than about 16 gsm. In yet another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer, wherein the adhesive is applied in an amount less than about 8 gsm. In yet another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer, wherein the adhesive is applied in an amount less than about 4 gsm. In still another alternate embodiment, such elastic laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer, wherein the adhesive is applied in an amount between about 1 and 4 gsm. In still another alternative embodiment, the laminate includes an adhesive between the facing layer and the elastic layer, and also on a side of the elastic layer opposite to that of the facing layer. In still a further alternative embodiment, such adhesive is distributed in similar add on amounts between the facing layer and the elastic layer and also to the side of the elastic layer opposite to that of the facing layer.
In still another alternative embodiment of the invention, the elastic laminate includes a meltblown nonblocking agent deposited on the elastic layer on a side opposite to the facing layer. In yet another alternative embodiment of the invention, the meltblown nonblocking agent is deposited in an amount of between about 0.2 and 2.0 gsm. In yet another alternative embodiment of the invention, the meltblown nonblocking agent is deposited in an amount of between about 0.2 and 1.5 gsm. In yet another alternative embodiment of the invention, the meltblown nonblocking agent is deposited in an amount of between about 0.2 and 0.8 gsm. In still another alternative embodiment of the invention, the meltblown nonblocking agent is deposited in an amount of between about 0.2 and 0.5 gsm. In yet another alternative embodiment of the invention, the meltblown nonblocking agent is selected from the group consisting of polyolefins and elastomeric polymers without tackifiers.
In still another alternative embodiment of the invention, the elastic layer has a basis weight of between about 3 gsm and 20 gsm. In still another alternative embodiment of the invention, the elastic layer has a basis weight of between about 4 gsm and 15 gsm. In still another alternative embodiment of the invention, the elastic layer is an array of continuous filament strands or continuous filament strands with an elastic meltblown deposited thereon. In still another alternative embodiment of the invention, the facing layer has a basis weight of between about 0.3 and 1.5 osy. In yet another alternative embodiment of the invention, the facing layer is selected from the group consisting of nonwoven webs, nonwoven web laminates, foams, scrims, netting, films, and combinations thereof. In yet another embodiment of the invention, the single gatherable facing layer is necked.
In an alternative embodiment, a method for forming a stretch bonded laminate includes providing an elastic layer; applying a meltblown nonblocking agent to one side of the elastic layer; stretching the elastic layer; bonding a gatherable facing layer only to the stretched elastic layer on a side opposite to the meltblown nonblocking agent while the stretched elastic layer is in a stretched condition, to form a stretch bonded laminate; and allowing such stretched bonded laminate to retract. A single side facing stretch bonded laminate (which term shall be used synonymously with single sided stretch bonded laminate) made by the method, for use in a personal care or other stretchable article is also contemplated by the invention.
In a further alternative embodiment, a method for forming a single sided stretch bonded laminate includes providing an elastic layer; stretching the elastic layer; bonding a gatherable facing layer to only one side of the stretched elastic layer while the stretched elastic layer is in a stretched condition to form a stretch bonded laminate by using an adhesive with a relatively short open time, and that is not tacky following curing; and allowing such stretched bonded laminate to retract. In still a further alternative embodiment, the adhesive is applied to bond the elastic layer to the single gatherable facing layer both prior to contacting the elastic layer with the facing layer (prebonding adhesive application) and following contacting the elastic layer with the facing layer (postbonding application). The prebonding adhesive application is applied prior to the elastic layer and facing layer being brought together into a laminate. In one embodiment, the postbonding adhesive application is applied to the filament side of the laminate, after the elastic layer and facing layer have been laminated. In a further alternative embodiment, similar amounts of adhesive are applied in both the prebonding and postbonding adhesive applications. It is contemplated that the invention also includes a single sided stretch bonded laminate made by such adhesive methods and articles made from such laminates.
The invention will be better understood by reference to the following description of embodiments of the invention taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
As used herein, the term “personal care product” means diapers, training pants, swimwear, absorbent underpants, adult incontinence products, and feminine hygiene products, such as feminine care pads, napkins and pantiliners. While a diaper is illustrated in
As used herein the term “protective outerwear” means garments used for protection in the workplace, such as surgical gowns, hospital gowns, covergowns, labcoats, masks, and protective coveralls.
As used herein, the terms “protective cover” and “protective outercover” mean covers that are used to protect objects such as for example car, boat and barbeque grill covers, as well as agricultural fabrics.
As used herein, the terms “polymer” and “polymeric” when used without descriptive modifiers, generally include but are not limited to, homopolymers, copolymers, such as for example, block, graft, random and alternating copolymers, terpolymers, etc. and blends and modifications thereof. Furthermore, unless otherwise specifically limited, the term “polymer” includes all possible spatial configurations of the molecule. These configurations include, but are not limited to isotactic, syndiotactic and random symmetries.
As used herein, the terms “machine direction” or MD means the direction along the length of a fabric in the direction in which it is produced. The terms “cross machine direction,” “cross directional,” or CD mean the direction across the width of fabric, i.e. a direction generally perpendicular to the MD.
As used herein, the term “nonwoven web” means a polymeric web having a structure of individual fibers or threads which are interlaid, but not in an identifiable, repeating manner. Nonwoven webs have been, in the past, formed by a variety of processes such as, for example, meltblowing processes, spunbonding processes, hydroentangling, air-laid and bonded carded web processes.
As used herein, the term “bonded carded webs” refers to webs that are made from staple fibers which are usually purchased in bales. The bales are placed in a fiberizing unit/picker which separates the fibers. Next, the fibers are sent through a combining or carding unit which further breaks apart and aligns the staple fibers in the machine direction so as to form a machine direction-oriented fibrous nonwoven web. Once the web has been formed, it is then bonded by one or more of several bonding methods. One bonding method is powder bonding wherein a powdered adhesive is distributed throughout the web and then activated, usually by heating the web and adhesive with hot air. Another bonding method is pattern bonding wherein heated calender rolls or ultrasonic bonding equipment is used to bond the fibers together, usually in a localized bond pattern through the web and or alternatively the web may be bonded across its entire surface if so desired. When using bicomponent staple fibers, through-air bonding equipment is, for many applications, especially advantageous.
As used herein the term “spunbond” refers to small diameter fibers which are formed by extruding molten thermoplastic material as filaments from a plurality of fine, usually circular capillaries of a spinneret with the diameter of the extruded filaments being rapidly reduced as by means shown, for example in U.S. Pat. No. 4,340,563 to Appel et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 3,692,618 to Dorschner et al., U.S. Pat. No. 3,802,817 to Matsuki et al., U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,338,992 and 3,341,394 to Kinney, U.S. Pat. No. 3,542,615 to Dobo et al., which is each incorporated by reference in its entirety herein.
As used herein, the term “meltblown” means fibers formed by extruding a molten thermoplastic material through a plurality of fine, usually circular die capillaries as molten threads or filaments into converging high velocity gas (e.g. air) streams which attenuate the filaments of molten thermoplastic material to reduce their diameter, which may be to microfiber diameter. Thereafter, the meltblown fibers are carried by the high velocity gas stream and are deposited on a collecting surface to form a web of randomly dispersed meltblown fibers. Such a process is disclosed, in various patents and publications, including NRL Report 4364, “Manufacture of Super-Fine Organic Fibers” by B. A. Wendt, E. L. Boone and D. D. Fluharty; NRL Report 5265, “An Improved Device For The Formation of Super-Fine Thermoplastic Fibers” by K. D. Lawrence, R. T. Lukas, J. A. Young; and U.S. Pat. No. 3,849,241, issued Nov. 19, 1974, to Butin, et al. incorporated by reference hereto in its entirety.
As used herein, the terms “sheet” and “sheet material” shall be interchangeable and in the absence of a word modifier, refer to woven materials, nonwoven webs, polymeric films, polymeric scrim-like materials, and polymeric foam sheeting.
The basis weight of nonwoven fabrics or films is usually expressed in ounces of material per square yard (osy) or grams per square meter (g/m2 or gsm) and the fiber diameters useful are usually expressed in microns. (Note that to convert from osy to gsm, multiply osy by 33.91). Film thicknesses may also be expressed in microns or mil.
As used herein, the term “laminate” refers to a composite structure of two or more sheet material layers that have been adhered through a bonding step, such as through adhesive bonding, thermal bonding, point bonding, pressure bonding, extrusion coating or ultrasonic bonding.
As used herein, the term “elastomeric” shall be interchangeable with the term “elastic” and refers to sheet material which, upon application of a stretching force, is stretchable in at least one direction (such as the CD direction), and which upon release of the stretching force contracts/returns to approximately its original dimension. For example, a stretched material having a stretched length which is at least 50 percent greater than its relaxed unstretched length, and which will recover to within at least 50 percent of its stretched length upon release of the stretching force. A hypothetical example would be a one (1) inch sample of a material which is stretchable to at least 1.50 inches and which, upon release of the stretching force, will recover to a length of not more than 1.25 inches. Desirably, such elastomeric sheet contracts or recovers up to 50 percent of the stretch length in a particular direction, such as in either the machine direction or the cross machine direction. Even more desirably, such elastomeric sheet material recovers up to 80 percent of the stretch length in a particular direction, such as in either the machine direction or the cross machine direction. Even more desirably, such elastomeric sheet material recovers greater than 80 percent of the stretch length in a particular direction, such as in either the machine direction or the cross machine direction. Desirably, such elastomeric sheet is stretchable and recoverable in both the MD and CD directions.
As used herein, the term “elastomer” shall refer to a polymer which is elastomeric.
As used herein, the term “thermoplastic” shall refer to a polymer which is capable of being melt processed.
As used herein, the term “inelastic” or “nonelastic” refers to any material which does not fall within the definition of “elastic” above.
As used herein, the term “multilayer laminate” means a laminate including a variety of different sheet materials. For instance, a multilayer laminate may include some layers of spunbond and some meltblown such as a spunbond/meltblown/spunbond (SMS) laminate and others as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,041,203 to Brock et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,169,706 to Collier, et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,145,727 to Potts et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,178,931 to Perkins et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 5,188,885 to Timmons et al., each incorporated by reference hereto in its entirety. Such a laminate may be made by sequentially depositing onto a moving forming belt first a spunbond fabric layer, then a meltblown fabric layer and last another spunbond layer and then bonding the laminate, such as by thermal point bonding. Alternatively, the fabric layers may be made individually, collected in rolls, and combined in a separate bonding step or steps. Multilayer laminates may also have various numbers of meltblown layers or multiple spunbond layers in many different configurations and may include other materials like films (F) or coform materials, e.g. SMMS, SM, SFS.
As used herein, the term “coform” means a process in which at least one meltblown diehead is arranged near a chute through which other materials are added to the web while it is forming. Such other materials may be pulp, superabsorbent particles, cellulose or staple fibers, for example. Coform processes are shown in U.S. Pat. No. 4,818,464 to Lau and U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,324 to Anderson et al., each incorporated by reference hereto in its entirety.
As used herein, the term “conjugate fibers” refers to fibers which have been formed from at least two polymers extruded from separate extruders but spun together to form one fiber. Conjugate fibers are also sometimes referred to as multicomponent or bicomponent fibers. The polymers are usually different from each other though conjugate fibers may be monocomponent fibers. The polymers are arranged in substantially constantly positioned distinct zones across the cross-section of the conjugate fibers and extend continuously along the length of the conjugate fibers. The configuration of such conjugate fiber may be, for example, a sheath/core arrangement wherein one polymer is surrounded by another or may be a side by side arrangement, a pie arrangement or an “islands-in-the-sea” arrangement. Conjugate fibers are taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,108,820 to Kaneko et al., U.S. Pat. No. 4,795,668 to Krueger et al., and U.S. Pat. No. 5,336,552 to Strack et al. Conjugate fibers are also taught in U.S. Pat. No. 5,382,400 to Pike et al., and may be used to produce crimp in the fibers by using the differential rates of expansion and contraction of the two or more polymers. For two component fibers, the polymers may be present in varying desired ratios. The fibers may also have shapes such as those described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,277,976 to Hogle et al., U.S. Pat. No. 5,466,410 to Hills and U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,069,970 and 5,057,368 to Largman et al., which describe fibers with unconventional shapes. Each of the foregoing patents are incorporated by reference hereto in its entirety.
As used herein the term “thermal point bonding” involves passing a fabric or web of fibers to be bonded between a heated calender roll and an anvil roll. The calender roll is usually, though not always, patterned in some way so that the entire fabric is not bonded across its entire surface, and the anvil roll is usually flat. As a result, various patterns for calender rolls have been developed for functional as well as aesthetic reasons. One example of a pattern has points and is the Hansen Pennings or “H&P” pattern with about a 30 percent bond area with about 200 bonds/square inch as taught in U.S. Pat. No. 3,855,046 to Hansen and Pennings, incorporated herein by reference in its entirety. The H&P pattern has square point or pin bonding areas wherein each pin has a side dimension of 0.038 inches (0.965 mm), a spacing of 0.070 inches (1.778 mm) between pins, and a depth of bonding of 0.023 inches (0.584 mm). The resulting pattern has a bonded area of about 29.5 percent. Another typical point bonding pattern is the expanded Hansen Pennings or “EHP” bond pattern which produces a 15 percent bond area with a square pin having a side dimension of 0.037 inches (0.94 mm), a pin spacing of 0.097 inches (2.464 mm) and a depth of 0.039 inches (0.991 mm). Another typical point bonding pattern designated “714” has square pin bonding areas wherein each pin has a side dimension of 0.023 inches, a spacing of 0.062 inches (1.575 mm) between pins, and a depth of bonding of 0.033 inches (0.838 mm). The resulting pattern has a bonded area of about 15 percent. Yet another common pattern is the C-Star pattern which has a bond area of about 16.9 percent. The C-Star pattern has a cross-directional bar or “corduroy” design interrupted by shooting stars. Other common patterns include a diamond pattern with repeating and slightly offset diamonds with about a 16 percent bond area and a wire weave pattern looking as the name suggests, e.g. like a window screen pattern having a bond area in the range of from about 15 percent to about 21 percent and about 302 bonds per square inch.
Typically, the percent bonding area varies from around 10 percent to around 30 percent of the area of the fabric laminate. As is well known in the art, the spot bonding holds the laminate layers together as well as imparts integrity to each individual layer by bonding filaments and/or fibers within each layer.
As used herein, the term “ultrasonic bonding” means a process performed, for example, by passing the fabric between a sonic horn and anvil roll as illustrated in U.S. Pat. No. 4,374,888 to Bornslaeger, incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
As used herein, the term “adhesive bonding” means a bonding process which forms a bond by application of an adhesive. Such application of adhesive may be by various processes such as slot coating, spray coating and other topical applications. Further, such adhesive may be applied within a product component and then exposed to pressure such that contact of a second product component with the adhesive containing product component forms an adhesive bond between the two components.
As used herein, and in the claims, the term “comprising” is inclusive or open-ended and does not exclude additional unrecited elements, compositional components, or method steps. Accordingly, such term is intended to be synonymous with the words “has”, “have”, “having”, “includes”, “including”, and any derivatives of these words.
As used herein, the terms “extensible” or “expandable” mean elongatable in at least one direction, but not necessarily recoverable.
Unless otherwise indicated, percentages of components in formulations are by weight.
Test Method Procedures:
Stretch to Stop Test:
“Stretch-to-stop” refers to a ratio determined from the difference between the unextended dimension of a stretchable laminate and the maximum extended dimension of a stretchable laminate upon the application of a specified tensioning force and dividing that difference by the unextended dimension of the stretchable laminate. If the stretch-to-stop is expressed in percent, this ratio is multiplied by 100. For example, a stretchable laminate having an unextended length of 5 inches (12.7 cm) and a maximum extended length of 10 inches (25.4 cm) upon applying a force of 2000 grams has a stretch-to-stop (at 2000 grams) of 100 percent. Stretch-to-stop may also be referred to as “maximum non-destructive elongation.” Unless specified otherwise, stretch-to-stop values are reported herein at a load of 2000 grams. In the elongation or stretch-to-stop test, a 3-inch by 7-inch (7.62 cm by 17.78 cm) sample, with the larger dimension being the machine direction, the cross direction, or any direction in between, is placed in the jaws of a Sintech machine using a gap of 5 cm between the jaws. The sample is then pulled to a stop load of 2000 gms with a crosshead speed of about 20 inches/minute (50.8 cm/minute). For the stretchable laminate material of this invention, it is desirable that it demonstrate a stretch to stop value between about 30-400 percent, alternatively between about 50 and 300 percent, still in a further alternative, between about 80-250 percent. The stretch to stop test is done in the direction of extensibility (stretch).
Creep Test Method:
Before referring to data demonstrating the effect heating has on an elastic strand creep-resistance value of a continuous filament based single sided stretch bonded laminate incorporating the heated filament strands, it is advantageous to discuss certain terms. For purposes of this application, “creep resistance” or “creep-resistance value” refers to the elastic-strand holding power of a particular system for attaching one or more elastic strands to at least one base material, such as a facing layer. For example, if an adhesive is applied in liquid form to a base material, and an elastic strand or strands are then pressed against the adhesive and base material to attach the strand or strands to the base material, then creep resistance is a measure of the quality of the adhesive bond between the strand or strands and the base material.
An explanation of a test for measuring creep provides additional detail regarding this concept. As discussed below, a plurality of elastic filament strands were bonded to a base material to form a single sided stretch bonded laminate. To conduct the test for measuring creep, the sample was first fully extended by hanging the sample vertically in front of an illuminated light box. The top of the sample was clamped to the light box and a 1000-gram weight was clamped to the bottom of the sample. In this fully extended form, a template was used to mark the substrate near the opposing ends to denote a 200 millimeter length.
The weight was then removed and the sample was placed horizontally on a piece of cardboard. The sample was allowed to retract so that the marks on the substrate composite were now 175 millimeters apart. The sample was then stapled to the cardboard, with the staples located outside the 175 mm length. When the elastic strands retract, they gather facing material so that the stretch bonded laminate itself has elastomeric qualities.
The elastic strands were then cut at the length of 175 mm. Because the strands were located on top of the facing material, the facing material was partially slit when the strands were cut. After the elastic filament strands were cut, they generally retracted. About 1-2 minutes after the strands were cut, the length of the retracted strands was measured. The difference between 175 mm and the initial retracted strand length, or I (initial), was used to calculate the “initial creep” of the sample. For the present application, initial creep is calculated using the following equation:
After initial creep of the sample was determined, the laminate, still stapled to the cardboard, was placed in a forced-air oven pre-heated to a temperature of 100° F. After 90 minutes, the laminate and cardboard were removed from the oven. The laminate was then allowed to cool for approximately 10 minutes. The length of the strands, which had retracted further, was measured.
The difference between 175 mm and the final retracted length, or Y (final) was used to calculate the “final creep” of the sample. For the present application, final creep is calculated using the following equation:
For disposable absorbent articles that are worn near the body of the wearer, final creep provides a measure of performance of the article during use, since the human body temperature is about 98° F. Hypothetical situations provide more detail on the meaning of this measurement. Assume that a laminate is made in which three elastic strands are bonded to a base/facing material. Also assume that the laminate is made by attaching the strands to a base/facing material using an adhesive while the strands are in elongated form, typically at an elongation from about 200% to about 300% (see Examples below and U.S. Pat. No. 5,964,973, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Making an Elastomeric Laminate Web,” which is hereby incorporated by reference in a manner consistent with the present specification, for more detail on how a laminate incorporating elastic strands is made). If, after aging at 100° F. for 90 minutes, the elastic strands detach from the adhesive and base (facing) material along most of the length of each strand, and the strands retract, then final creep will be relatively high and creep resistance will be relatively low. Performance of the laminate as an elastomeric laminate will likely be poor because the detached strands, now retracted and embodying less tension, are less likely to gather the base facing material or materials in a relatively uniform fashion along the length of the laminate, if at all.
Roll Blocking Test Method (for Interlayer Peel Strength of Laminate Layers Off of a Roll):
An approximately 50 inch outer diameter roll of single sided stretch bonded laminate was cut along the cross or transverse direction from the top of a roll to the core with a utility knife. Three sections of material from the top, the core and a midpoint of the radius were used as samples. Each sample was approximately 18 inches by 24 inches and contained approximately 30 undisturbed layers of laminate. From each of these samples, eight 3 inch wide by 7 inch long specimens were cut, with the 7 inch being in the machine direction. Each specimen contained 2 layers of laminate (with each laminate including an elastic layer and a single facing layer). The upper layer of one end of the specimen (a full laminate of an elastic layer and facing) was loaded into the upper jaw of a tensile testing unit (Sintech) while the lower layer of the specimen (a full laminate of an elastic layer and facing) from the same end of the specimen as used for the upper layer, was loaded into the lower jaw of the Sintech unit. Using the method described generally below, the Sintech tensile tester (manufactured by MTS Systems Corp., model Synergie 200) was used to measure the average force along the MD length of the material required to separate the two layers, at a 180 degree angle and at a strain rate of 300 mm/min. All specimens were tested in the machine direction. For the samples tested, the polymer used for the filaments in the roll (of continuous filaments) was KRATON G2755, as will be described below. The basis weight ratio of strands to meltblown in the elastic layer was about 90:10. Eight specimens were used and the average value of these was taken as the accepted peel value.
Essentially the test measures the force required to separate two complete layers of single sided stretch bonded laminate material from each other (simulating unwinding of laminate from a supply roll). It is considered that such force would be representative of the force necessary to pull a layer of a rolled material off of the roll. Results are expressed in units of grams of force, with higher numbers representing a tackier fabric, which adheres to itself on a roll. For the materials of the present invention, in one embodiment, the material demonstrates a peel strength of less than 200 g. For an alternative embodiment, the material demonstrates a peel strength of less than 100 g. In still a further alternative embodiment, the material demonstrates a peel strength of less than 50 g.
In conducting the test, the individual plies of the laminate fabric (that is one single sided laminate and another) are manually separated for a distance of approximately 2-3 inches to give at least 4 inches of working direction, or separation length. One ply of the sample specimen from the same end of the specimen is clamped into each jaw of the tensile tester and the specimen is then subjected to a constant rate of extension. The edges of the sample are desirably clean cut and parallel. Desirably Sintech TestWorks software can be utilized to acquire data for the system. The grips include 1 inch by 4 inch jaw faces, where the 4 inch dimension is the width of the jaw. The tests are conducted at standard laboratory atmosphere-ambient conditions. The sample of the test should measure from about 3-4 inches in the CD and at least 6 inches in the MD. An appropriate load cell should be chosen such that the peak load value will fall between 10 and 90 percent of the full scale load, 25 lbs or less. Desirably a 5 lb load cell is used. Desirably, where possible, the measurement should be started at about 16 mm and ended up to about 170 mm of elongation. The gage length should be set at about 2 inches (distance between jaws).
For the purposes of this invention an elastic single sided stretch bonded laminate includes at least one elastic layer and one gatherable facing layer, the gatherable facing layer being applied to only one side of at least one elastic layer. A nonblocking agent is applied to the elastic layer either as a nonblocking agent layer on a side opposite to that of the facing layer, or as a bonding agent (adhesive) between the elastic layer and the gatherable facing layer, or alternatively, as a bonding agent between the elastic layer and the gatherable facing layer and additionally over the bonded laminate, on a side opposite to that of the facing layer. It is desirably that such single-sided stretch bonded laminate material demonstrate a stretch to stop value of between about 30 and 400 percent. In an alternative embodiment, such material demonstrates a stretch to stop value of between about 50 and 300 percent. In still a further alternative embodiment, such laminate material demonstrates a stretch to stop value of between about 80 and 250 percent.
The elastic layer is desirably either a film, or an array of continuous filaments, either with or without another laminate material (such as an elastic meltblown layer) attached thereto. Such elastic layer may also be comprised of an elastic scrim or netting structure, a foam material, or a combination of any of the foregoing materials. If a film is used, it may be an apertured film.
If the elastic layer is in the form of a generally parallel series of elastomeric continuous filaments or strands (fiber array), such continuous filament array may be in conjunction with additional materials such as meltblown materials deposited on the filaments. This combination of materials is described in previously noted U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,775 to Wright. Desirably, the filament to meltblown basis weight ratio in such an elastic layer is about 90:10.
Such elastic layer (whether film, filament or other described structure) may be made from thermoplastic materials such as block copolymers having the general formula A-B-A′ where A and A′ are each a thermoplastic polymer endblock which contains a styrenic moiety such as a poly (vinyl arene) and where B is an elastomeric polymer midblock such as a conjugated diene or a lower alkene polymer.
Specific examples of useful styrenic block copolymers include hydrogenated polyisoprene polymers such as styrene-ethylenepropylene-styrene (SEPS), styrene-ethylenepropylene-styrene-ethylenepropylene (SEPSEP), hydrogenated polybutadiene polymers such as styrene-ethylenebutylene-styrene (SEBS), styrene-ethylenebutylene-styrene-ethylenebutylene (SEBSEB), styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS), styrene-isoprene-styrene (SIS), and hydrogenated poly-isoprene/butadiene polymer such as styrene-ethylene-ethylenepropylene-styrene (SEEPS). Polymer block configurations such as diblock, triblock, multiblock, star and radial are also contemplated in this invention. In some instances, higher molecular weight block copolymers may be desirable. Block copolymers are available from Kraton Polymers U.S. LLC of Houston, Tex. under the designations Kraton G or D polymers, for example G1652, G1657, G1730, D1114, D1155, D1102 and Septon Company of America, Pasadena, Tex. under the designations Septon 2004, Septon 4030, and Septon 4033. Other potential suppliers of such polymers include Dexco Polymers of TX and Dynasol of Spain. Blends of such elastomeric resin materials are also contemplated as the primary component of the elastic layer. Additionally, other desirable block copolymers are disclosed in U.S. Patent Publication 2003/0232928A1 which is incorporated by reference herein it its entirety.
Such base resins may be further combined with tackifiers and/or processing aids in compounds. Exemplary compounds include but are not limited to KRATON G 2760, and KRATON G 2755. Processing aids that may be added to the elastomeric polymer described above include a polyolefin to improve the processability of the composition. The polyolefin must be one which, when so blended and subjected to an appropriate combination of elevated pressure and elevated temperature conditions, is extrudable, in blended form, with the elastomeric base polymer. Useful blending polyolefin materials include, for example, polyethylene, polypropylene and polybutene, including ethylene copolymers, propylene copolymers and butene copolymers. A particularly useful polyethylene may be obtained from the Eastman Chemical under the designation EPOLENE C-10. Two or more of the polyolefins may also be utilized. Extrudable blends of elastomeric polymers and polyolefins are disclosed in, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,663,220.
The elastomeric filament or film layer may have some tackiness/adhesiveness to enhance autogenous bonding. For example, the elastomeric polymer itself may be tacky when formed into films, and/or filaments or, alternatively, a compatible tackifying resin may be added to the extrudable elastomeric compositions described above to provide tackified elastomeric fibers and/or filaments that autogenously bond. In regards to the tackifying resins and tackified extrudable elastomeric compositions, note the resins and compositions as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,787,699, hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
Any tackifier resin can be used which is compatible with the elastomeric polymer and can withstand the high processing (e.g. extrusion) temperatures If the elastomeric polymer (e.g. A-B-A elastomeric block copolymer) is blended with processing aids such as, for example, polyolefins or extending oils, the tackifier resin should also be compatible with those processing aids. Generally, hydrogenated hydrocarbon resins are preferred tackifying resins, because of their better temperature stability. REGALREZ series tackifiers are examples of such hydrogenated hydrocarbon resins. REGALREZ hydrocarbon resins are available from Eastman Chemical. Of course, the present invention is not limited to use of such tackifying resins, and other tackifying resins which are compatible with the other components of the composition and can withstand the high processing temperatures, can also be used. Other tackifiers are available from ExxonMobil under the ESCOREZ designation.
Other exemplary elastomeric materials which may be used include polyurethane elastomeric materials such as, for example, those available under the trademark ESTANE from Noveon, polyamide elastomeric materials such as, for example, those available under the trademark PEBAX (polyether amide) from Ato Fina Company, and polyester elastomeric materials such as, for example, those available under the trade designation HYTREL from E.I. DuPont De Nemours & Company.
Useful elastomeric polymers also include, for example, elastic polymers and copolymers of ethylene and at least one vinyl monomer such as, for example, vinyl acetates, unsaturated aliphatic monocarboxylic acids, and esters of such monocarboxylic acids. The elastic copolymers and formation of elastomeric meltblown fibers from those elastic copolymers are disclosed in, for example, U.S. Pat. No. 4,803,117, incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
Additional materials which may be utilized in the layer to provide some extensibility with limited recovery, include single site catalyzed polyolefinic materials, such as metallocene catalyzed polyolefins and constrained geometry polyolefins, as available from Dow under the designation AFFINITY and from ExxonMobil, under the designation EXACT. Desirably, such materials have densities of less than 0.89 g/cc.
Finally, pre-formed elastic strands are also contemplated to be within the scope of this invention. Such preformed strands, such as solution treated materials, include LYCRA from Dupont and GLOSPAN, available from GLOBE. This material may serve as the basis for a continuous filament array component (elastic layer) of a stretch bonded laminate material, or alternatively a film component of a stretch bonded laminate.
Typically, the blend used to form the web, film or filaments when such is made from an extruded material in an on-line process, includes for example, from about 40 to about 90 percent by weight elastomeric polymer base resin, from about 0 to about 40 percent polyolefin processing aid, and from about 5 to about 40 percent resin tackifier. These ratios can be varied depending on the specific properties desired and the polymers utilized. For an alternative embodiment, such blend includes between about 60 and 80 percent base resin, between about 5 to 30 percent processing aid, and between about 10 and 30 percent tackifier. In a further alternative embodiment, such blend includes a tackifier in an amount of between about 10 and 20 percent tackifier.
The gatherable layer gathers between points on its surface that are bonded to the elastic layer. Essentially, those areas that are gathered, are not bonded to the elastic layer. While it is desirable that the gatherable layer be a nonwoven layer, such gatherable layer may also be a woven web, a cellulosic web as will later be described, a metallic foil-type layer or a combination of such. Such gatherable material may also be pretreated in some fashion prior to being bonded to the elastic layer. Such pretreatments include for instance being necked. Such pretreatment may offer additional properties to the overall laminate material, such as bi or multidirectional stretch capabilities. Such gatherable layer may itself include multiple layers, and as such be a multilayered laminate.
The gatherable layer may be a nonwoven material such as, for example, one or more spunbonded webs (such as a conjugate fiber spunbond web), meltblown webs, or bonded carded webs. An example of a spunbond web may be a polypropylene spunbond web having a basis weight of between about 0.3 and 0.8 osy. In a further alternative embodiment, the spunbond web is necked between about 25 and 60 percent before it is bonded to the elastic layer. In still a further embodiment of the invention, the gatherable layer is a multilayer material having, for example, at least one layer of spunbond web joined to at least one layer of meltblown web, bonded carded web, or other suitable material. The gatherable layer may also be a composite material made of a mixture of two or more different fibers or a mixture of fibers and particulates, such as a coform material. Such mixtures may be formed by adding fibers and/or particulates to the gas stream in which meltblown fibers are carried so that an intimate entangled comingling of meltblown fibers and other materials, i.e. woodpulp, staplefibers and particulates such as, for example, hydrocolloid (hydrogel), particulates commonly referred to as superabsorbent materials, occurs prior to collection of the meltblown fibers upon a collecting device to form a coherent web of randomly dispersed meltblown fibers and other materials such as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,100,324, the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The gatherable layer may be made of pulp fibers, including wood pulp fibers, to form a material such as, for example, a tissue layer. Additionally, the gatherable layer may be a layer or layers of hydraulically entangled fibers such as, for example hydraulically entangled mixtures of wood pulp and staple fibers such as, for example, as disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 4,781,966 the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The single sided stretch bonded laminate is desirably made using one of three methods. In particular, the material may be made using either an extrusion and bonding method with a meltblown nonblocking agent treatment thereon (to form a nonblocking agent layer), an application of a pre-bonding adhesive that has a relatively low open time and becomes non-tacky following application, or an application of a pre-bonding adhesive that has a relatively low open time and a post-bonding application of such an adhesive, with the adhesive becoming nontacky following application. The various methods may be described in one embodiment as involving a bonding agent, even though all of the methods do not involve “adhesives” per se. The methods can be variously characterized as involving mechanical entanglement which in effect, mechanically bonds layers together without a tacky result.
Such nonblocking agent treatment may include application of a relatively low basis weight meltblown material, such that no readily visible (with the human eye) web is formed, to the top of tacky elastic layers within the laminate. Such nonblocking agent treatment is desirably a dusting of meltblown, such as between about 0.2 and 2.0 gsm of meltblown materials. In an alternative embodiment, such meltblown application is between about 0.2 and 1.5 gsm of meltblown materials. In still another alternative embodiment, such meltblown application is between about 0.2 and 0.8 gsm. In yet another alternative embodiment, such meltblown application is between about 0.2 and 0.5 gsm. Depending on what attributes are desired, the meltblown application is varied within these respective ranges. For instance, if a more elastic laminate is desired, the meltblown application would necessarily be on the lower end of the range. Desirably, such meltblown is a non-tacky polypropylene meltblown material which is exemplified by VALTEC HH442H (having a MFR of 1100 at 230° C./2.16 kg of ASTM D1238) by Basell, and Basell PF-015. Such meltblown material may be produced by one or more meltblown banks depending on the basis weight desired. Alternatively, such meltblown may be of an elastic material without tackifier.
If an adhesive method is used to create such single sided facing stretch bonded laminate, it is desirable that such adhesive have an open time of between about 0.2 seconds (sec) and 1 minute. In an alternative embodiment, such open time is between about 0.2 sec and 3 seconds. In still a further alternative embodiment, such open time is between about 0.5 sec and 2 seconds. An exemplary adhesive with such properties is a polypropylene-based hot melt adhesive (that becomes nontacky shortly after application, upon solidification) consisting of between about 15-40 percent atactic polypropylene, in one embodiment about 39 weight percent Eastman P1023 PP (atactic polypropylene from Eastman Chemical); between about 30-60 percent tackifier, in one embodiment about 39 percent ExxonMobil ESCOREZ 5690; between about 2-10 percent styrenic block copolymer, in one embodiment about 5 percent VECTOR 4411 of Dexco Polymers; between about 10-20 percent isotactic polypropylene, in one embodiment, about 14 percent PP 3746G (isotactic polypropylene) also of ExxonMobil; between about 0-2 percent coloring agent, in one embodiment about 2 percent of a coloring agent, such as 50 percent titanium dioxide in VECTOR 4411 and finally; between about 0.2-1 percent stabilizer, in one embodiment, about 0.5 percent IRGANOX 1010 from Ciba Specialty Chemicals. This adhesive was used in the adhesive examples appearing below. It should be appreciated that the various components may have other substitutes, such as stabilizers other than IRGANOX. Furthermore, it should be appreciated that such adhesives may also not contain coloring agents, depending on product application. Other adhesives may be used with the present invention including those derived from the adhesives described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,657,009, U.S. application Ser. Nos. 09/945,239, 09/945,240, 10/655,717, and U.S. Publication Numbers US20020122953, US20020123726, each of which is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
In one embodiment, it is desirable that the adhesive be applied in a pre-bonding step (that is prior to (such as immediately prior to) bringing the elastic layer and the single facing layer together in a nip) at a basis weight of less than about 16 gsm. In an alternative embodiment, such adhesive is applied at a basis weight of less than about 8 gsm. In still a further alternative embodiment, it is desirable that such adhesive be applied at a basis weight of less than about 4 gsm. In still a further alternative embodiment, it is desirable that the adhesive be applied at between 1 and 4 gsm. In one embodiment, it is desirable that such adhesive be applied by spray, such as through systems available from ITW or other such spray applications. Such spray application is in one embodiment sprayed onto one of the layers, such as on the facing layer. In an alternative embodiment, such spray is into the nip at which the facing and elastic layers are joined.
If the adhesive is to be applied as a pre-bonding and postbonding step (prebonding as previously described), it is desirable that the adhesive be applied on the materials (as will be described below) in an amount of less than 4 gsm prior to bonding of the various layers. In an alternative embodiment, such adhesive is desirably applied in an amount of less than 2 gsm prior to bonding of the various layers. In still another alternative embodiment, such adhesive is applied in a prebonding step in a range of between about 1 and 4 gsm and in a post bonding step of between about 0-4 gsm. In still a further alternative embodiment, such adhesive is applied in a prebonding and post bonding method at a total of between about 6 and 8 gsm. The term postbonding shall mean application of the adhesive or nonblocking agent following exiting of the bonded elastic layer and facing layer from a nip, and before winding on a roll for storage. For example, application of the postbonding adhesive or nonblocking agent can be to a side of the elastic layer/facing layer laminate opposite to the facing layer.
In one embodiment, a method for producing a single sided facing stretch bonded elastic laminate material utilizes a facing such as that which has been previously described, and an array of continuous elastic filaments adhesively bonded to the facing. However, in accordance with the method, a noblocking agent is also applied to the side of the filament array which is opposite to that of the facing layer, such that the laminate has a structure of ABC, in which the “A” represents the single side facing, the “B” represents the elastic component/layer of the laminate and the C represents the “nonblocking” agent (or adhesive as described). For the purposes of this application, the term “nonblocking” agent shall mean a light coating in the range previously described, of an agent which provides a light surface covering to a tacky layer, but that does not impact the performance ability of the laminate to retract. For example, the nonblocking agent in one embodiment is less than about 14 percent of the basis weight of the elastic layer without considering the nonblocking agent. Desirably, the nonblocking agent in an alternative embodiment is less than 7 percent of the basis weight of the elastic layer. In still a further alternative embodiment, the nonblocking agent is less than 4 percent of the basis weight of the elastic layer. Desirably, the application of the nonblocking agent is so lightly applied, that no perceptible gathering occurs in the nonblocking agent itself after the elastic layer is allowed to retract. The nonblocking agent is essentially adhered tightly to the surfaces of the elastic layer such that there is negligible separation from the elastic layer (especially when compared to the facing separation on the opposite side of the elastic layer), when the elastic layer is allowed to retract. In such a fashion the resulting material demonstrates increased stretch levels, and the ability of the material to be rolled for storage over itself if it is not to be used immediately. The material likewise demonstrates enhanced gathering of the single facing since the stretch bonded laminate is allowed to retract to a greater extent than would be possible with two opposing facing layers attached.
As can be seen in
One or more additional meltblown banks 45 and 50 that are positioned downstream and adjacent the first meltblown bank can extrude a nonblocking agent 46 onto the top of the extruded elastic meltblown layer(s). Such a nonblocking agent may be a polyolefin or elastic polyolefin polymer as previously described. Additionally, amorphous polyalpha olefins (APAO) that are non tacky may be utilized. Additionally, elastomeric materials without tackifiers may also be utilized. In a further alternative embodiment polypropylene adhesives such as previously described may likewise be meltblown on top of the previous elastic meltblown material. In melting the materials, a grid melter (typical hot melt equipment) may be used to melt/provide inorganic or organic drums, pellets, or blocks of nonblocking agent.
The filament/meltblown and nonblocking agent laminate may be compacted by optional rolls 55, and is stretched by the differential speed of either such optional compaction rolls or tensioning rollers (nip rolls) 60 to elongate and tension the filaments 56. The tension rollers are therefore operating at speeds which exceed the speed at which the meltblown covered filament array is exiting the forming surface. Desirably the tension rollers 55 or 60 are provided with a surface having little to no affinity for the filaments or fibers. In one embodiment, the filaments are stretched between about 3 and 6× from the forming surface to the tensioning rollers.
At the same time, a single facing layer 67 is either made in line or unwound from a roll 65 and introduced into the set of nip rolls 60 with the filament array laminate such that the facing layer 67 faces the filament array side of the laminate, as opposed to the nonblocking agent side of the laminate. The facing is bonded to the elastic layer (meltblown in particular, via pressure in the nip) while the elastic layer is still being stretched. Both the filament array and facing then exit the nip 60 as a continuous filament elastic stretch bonded laminate with a single side facing layer. The elastic laminate 70 is then allowed to relax, forming gathers therein between bonding points on the facing layer, and is collected on a collection roll 75 for further use. The collection roll then winds the laminate, typically at a speed less than that of the nip rolls, such as between about 0.50 and 0.75 of the nip roll speeds. The nip rollers 60 may be desirably designed to provide a 100 percent bond area through the use of flat calender rolls or may provide a patterned bond area. The rollers 60 can be heated to a degree below the melting points of the various laminate components, or may be ambient, or chilled. As an alternative embodiment, of the method, all rolls that come into contact with the non-facing side of the laminate desirably include a non-stick surface, such as a coating of PTFE (TEFLON), or silicone rubber, release coating. Such rolls may further be coated with IMPREGLON coatings of Southwest Impreglon, of Houston, Tex., or Stowe-Woodward Silfex silicone rubber coatings of a hardness of 60 Shore A. In an alternative embodiment of this continuous filament array laminate method, rather than extruding continuous filaments, preformed elastic strands such as LYCRA strands may be unwound from a drum and fed into a laminating nip under tension. In still another embodiment, the facing can be necked prior to being bonded to the elastic layer. Such necking may be between about 25 and 60 percent.
Such laminate structure can be seen in
In one embodiment, the continuous filaments in such laminates are desirably present in an amount between about 8 to 15 per inch. The basis weight of the meltblown material from the first elastic meltblown bank is desirably between about 1 and 3 gsm. The basis weight of such facing materials bonded to such filaments is desirably between about 0.3 and 0.8 osy. In one embodiment, the filament and elastic meltblown materials are stretched between approximately 50 and 800 percent by the action of the nip rolls (expressed in a ratio, such as about 0.16 to 0.18 (forming surface speed/nip roll speed). In a second alternative embodiment, the filaments are stretched between about 100 and 600 percent by the action of the nip rolls.
As an example of this embodiment of the invention, an ABC structure laminate may be produced in accordance with the methods of U.S. Pat. No. 5,385,775, with a polypropylene spunbond facing having a basis weight between about 0.3 and 0.6 osy, but desirably in the range of about 0.35 to 0.4 osy. The elastic component B, which is desirably comprised of the filament array and the first meltblown layer, is desirably a styrenic block copolymer blend, such as elastic styrenic block copolymers available from Kraton, Septon, Dexco or Dynasol. Desirably, such polymeric blend is a KRATON G polymeric compounded blend such as KRATON G 2760 or KRATON G 2755 in the filaments, and either the same polymeric blend in the elastic first meltblown layer or a second G polymer blend in the first meltblown layer. The filaments to meltblown weight ratio is desirably in a 90:10 ratio. The nonblocking agent/layer C desirably comprises a lightly applied meltblown layer of polypropylene (such as Basell PF-015) or alternatively, a non-tackified elastomeric blend of meltblown, such as for example a blend of 70 percent SEPTON 2004 with 30 percent EPOLENE C-10 wax, either applied at less than 1 gsm (basis weight at the calender or nip rolls).
In manufacturing the material for examples, the following conditions were employed. The first extrusion bank that extruded continuous filaments, extruded either KRATON G2760 or alternatively, where noted, KRATON G2755. The elastic meltblown bank, which followed the filament bank downstream, extruded KRATON G2755. The nonblocking agent meltblown bank extruded BASELL PF-015 where noted. Generally such banks extruded filament and meltblown polymers in a basis weight of between 9 and 16 gsm, with the elastic filament/elastic meltblown basis weight ratio of 90:10. The wire to calendar speed ratio was between 0.18 and 0.19. The facing basis weight, which was a polypropylene spunbond nonwoven, was between 0.4 and 0.5 osy. The extrusion temperature of the continuous filament extrusion die system was between about 400 and 460° F. There was no primary air on this continuous filament system and the polymer was extruded out onto the forming wire from the filament die. The extrusion temperature of the elastic meltblown layer that was placed on top of the filaments was between 350 and 500° F. with the higher temperatures primarily in the die. The primary air in the elastic meltblown bank was between about 1.4 and 1.6 psi. The extrusion temperature of the nonblocking agent meltblown die system was between about 350 and 570° F., with the die itself having a temperature of about 500° F. The primary air in that die was about 5 psi. The materials were calendered in a nip with the calender rolls yielding a surface temperature of ambient to 110° F. and under a pressure of about 250 pounds per linear inch on the roll.
The materials were produced having the following composition and manufacturing results as reflected in Table 1 below.
As can be seen from the examples, the lack of a nonblocking agent layer led to manufacturing difficulties, whereas the presence of a nonblocking agent layer simplified the manufacturing process. The peel strength (as previously described in test method section) was then tested on the above sample 4 with a polypropylene nonblocking agent. The following test data indicates nonblocking performance in at least some samples from each internal section of a roll.
In a second alternative embodiment of a method for making a single side facing stretch bonded laminate, a vertical oriented extrusion platform may be used to extrude an elastic continuous filament array. However, rather than employing a “meltblown” nonblocking agent that could encompass a variety of materials, a non-tacky adhesive bonding method may be employed to a bond the elastic continuous filament array to the facing material.
The die of the extruder 110 may be positioned with respect to the first roll so that the continuous filaments meet this first roll 120 at a predetermined angle 130. This strand extrusion geometry is particularly advantageous for depositing a melt extrudate onto a rotating roll or drum. An angled, or canted orientation provides an opportunity for the filaments to emerge from the die at a right angle to the roll tangent point, resulting in improved spinning, more efficient energy transfer, and generally longer die life. This configuration allows the filaments to emerge at an angle from the die and follow a relatively straight path to contact the tangent point on the roll surface. The angle 130 between the die exit of the extruder 110 and the vertical axis (or the horizontal axis of the first roll, depending on which angle is measured) may be as little as a few degrees or as much as 90 degrees. For example, a 90 degree extrudate exit to roll angle could be achieved by positioning the extruder 110 directly above the downstream edge of the first roll 120 and having a side exit die tip on the extruder. Moreover, angles such as about 20 degrees, about 35 degrees, or about 45 degrees, away from vertical may be utilized. It has been found that, when utilizing a 12-filament/inch spinplate hole density, an approximately 45 degree angle (shown in
After the filaments 105 are quenched and solidified they are stretched or elongated using a first series of stretch rolls 140. The first series of stretch rolls may comprise one or more individual stretch rolls 145, 150 which rotate at a speed greater than a speed at which chill roll 120 rotates, thereby stretching the filaments 105.
In one embodiment of this invention, each successive roll rotates at a speed greater than the speed of the previous roll. For example, referring to
After the filaments 105 are stretched, they are laminated to a facing material 155 (when filaments are still in a stretched condition, as similarly described in the horizontal platform previously) by an adhesive process as exemplified by the illustrated adhesive distribution unit 160, shown as applying adhesive to the facing material 155. The facing material 155 is unwound from a roll 154 and laminated to a first side of the filaments 105. Before the facing material 155 is laminated to the filaments, it may be necked by additional rolls (not shown). As previously described, the facing material may be a nonwoven material, or laminates thereof, according to the present invention. The laminate material is then passed through nip rolls 165 to bond the elastic filaments 105 to the facing 155 by adhesion. The nip rolls 165, may alternatively be used in place of, or in addition to, the stretch rolls 145, 150 to achieve stretching. The laminate material is then allowed to relax thereby allowing the retracting elastomeric filaments to form gathers in the laminate material, as with the previously described horizontal manufacturing platform. It should be noted that in an alternative embodiment, additional relatively low open time adhesive (or nonblocking agent) can be applied 161 following the exit of the bonded elastic layer and facing from a nip 165, such than an additional layer of non-tacky material is deposited on the elastic layer on a side opposite to that of the facing layer, desirably while such laminate is in the stretched condition (as in relevant examples which follow).
The nip rollers may be designed to provide a patterned roller which may yield certain benefits such as increased bulk or stretching of the laminate and may be used where the strength of the contact adhesion between the facing and the strands is not unduly affected. The calender rolls can be heated to a degree below the melting points of the various laminate components, or may be ambient, or chilled.
As can be seen in
In a following set of examples describing this embodiment, a polypropylene adhesive is used to directly bond stretched elastic filaments or film onto a necked on non-necked spunbond facing. Desirably, the polypropylene adhesive demonstrates an open time of about 1 second. For the purposes of this application, the term “open” time shall be used to mean the time during which the adhesive remains tacky. Such adhesive provides necessary adhesion in a molten state as a bonding agent for the continuous filaments and/or film to bond to a nonwoven material (such as a spunbond), but that would be non-tacky after lamination. The laminate can be immediately wound without a roll blocking issue.
The elastic strands, films, or ribbons of such a stretch bonded laminate can be pre-made strands, films or ribbons, such as LYCRA or GLOSPAN strands that are introduced into a laminate from a supply roll or drum, or alternatively, those brought in-line by extrusion, such as from the vertical extrusion platform described above. Specific examples of the material made in accordance with the above methods are described below. Materials were initially made using bonded LYCRA strands to a single facing of 0.6 osy spunbond using the polypropylene based adhesive blend described above. The LYCRA strands of 940 denier were elongated 250 percent and then coated with adhesive using an adhesive spray application system, at an add on of adhesive of between about 5.0-7.0 gsm of adhesive. The adhesive coated strands were passed through a nip under tension, with the polypropylene spunbond and immediately rewound. The resulting single faced laminate was nontacky and resulted in no blocking when unwound at a speed of between about 1000-1500 fpm, or less. The resulting single sided faced stretch bonded laminate demonstrated a high level of stretch to stop elastic performance as well.
Additional examples of material made in accordance with the previously described extrusion methods are described in the following Table 3. For the materials generated in Table 3, the following conditions were used. Filament/strand die A consisted of one row of extrusion holes of 12 holes/inch (0.030 inches wide) for 10 inches of die. Die B consisted of two rows of extrusion holes. Row 1 consisted of 12 holes per inch (0.030 inch wide) for the die of 10 inches, and row 2 consisted of 10 holes (¼ inch gap over 1 inch wide per side (0.050 inch wide) and a flap having 4 holes (2 holes ¾ inch spaced/2 edge holes ¼ inch gap; 0.050 inch wide). The adhesive used was the same polypropylene adhesive described above, which was meltblown at between 3-4 gsm across the entire facing web prior to entering the lamination nip.
For the purposes of these examples, the term KRATON G6610 refers to a Kraton G polymer having tackifier, the stretch to stop was determined using the test previously described, and the abbreviation NSB, refers to necked polypropylene spunbond which has been necked approximately 60 percent prior to bonding with the elastic layer.
The extrusion examples above exhibited no blocking of the laminate roll when rolled for storage, nor did adhesive build up occur on the nip rollers. The corrugated laminate was non-tacky and exhibited a soft hand, with the difference in tackiness between the strand side and the facing side being nearly undiscernible through both visual inspection and feel of hand. The material also demonstrated stretch capability of greater than 50 up to 400 percent in the machine direction and greater than 50 up to 120 percent in the cross-machine direction. Additionally, the material demonstrated less than between about 10 percent strand creep in accordance with the “creep test method”, previously described after aging at 100° F. for 90 minutes. Such result demonstrates strong adherence of the filaments to the facing layer.
In a further alternative embodiment of the inventive single sided facing stretch bonded material, and process for making such, an adhesive is meltblown or sprayed onto an elastic material just prior to it entering a lamination roller nip arrangement, as well as immediately after the laminate exits such nip, but before it is wound for storage on a roll. Such double application of an adhesive results in a material with reduced tackiness (if the strands, web or film elastic layer include any tackifiers), reduced strand creep, if filaments or strands are used in the elastic layer, and improved bonding.
In an example of such an alternative process, materials produced by this method are shown in Table 4. Each used hot melt polypropylene-based adhesive as previously described.
It should be noted that the 60/40 blend described in the above table consisted of about 60 percent KRATON G6610, about 20 percent VECTOR 4411 (Dexco Polymers), about 16 percent VECTOR 4111, and about 4 percent ESCOREZ 5320 (from ExxonMobil). In this blend and the other formulations in the table, a trace amount of titanium dioxide coloring agent in an SIS was used to color the polymer. It should be noted that for tables 3 and 4, the basis weight of the elastic component is off of the chill roll following extrusion, but before stretching.
As can be seen in Table 5, while Sample 5 demonstrated only a few strands bonding well, the remaining samples demonstrated more uniform bonding of strands throughout. Additionally, a roll blocking test was performed on material 4 identified above. The material was placed in an oven at 130° F. for 48 hours and allowed to condition at room temperature for 2 weeks. The sample was then unwound at 250 feet per minute with no blocking issues.
In still a further alternative embodiment of the invention, a single sided facing stretch bonded laminate may be produced using either of the previously described nonblocking agent or nontacky adhesive application methods with a film-based elastic component. For example, an elastomer resin composition may be processed into a film via known melt pump and film die technology. The film may either be cast or blown. The extruded film may be either a single layer film or part of a multi-layer film, which can include one or more skin layers (such as in an ABA structure) immediately adjacent a core layer. If multilayer films are to be produced, such additional layers may be produced by a lamination process or by coextrusion with the core layer. Such film would be stretched and then further attached through adhesive lamination using a nontacky adhesive to an additional sheet material, such as a nonwoven material (i.e. spunbond, meltblown, coform, airlaid, bonded carded web layers), scrims, foam, additional films or various combinations of each to form a film/sheet material laminate. The film may be sprayed with the nonblocking agent or adhesive on either or each side depending on the film formulation. The resulting film/sheet material laminate would then be allowed to retract. Such films may be apertured or slit and yet the use of a nonblocking agent or nontacky adhesive would prevent roll blocking of such film if it would need to be stored for later usage.
As is illustrated in
It should be recognized that while each of the various cross sections of the previous figures illustrate a relatively flat facing layer material, such nonwoven facing layer materials are actually gathered between where they are bonded to the respective elastic layers (either the strands, film, or webs), but for stylistic purposes, such web is shown in a relatively flat configuration.
Such single sided facing stretch bonded laminate materials have particular effectiveness for use in personal care products to provide elastic attributes to such products. Such single sided facing materials can provide higher extensibility in either the MD or CD direction than a laminate with facings applied to two opposing surfaces of an elastic layer, and can also provide a highly corrugated appearance and a softer feel.
Such material may be useful in providing elastic waist, leg cuff/gasketing, stretchable ear, side panel or stretchable outer cover applications. While not meaning to be limiting,
With reference to
The diaper 250 includes, without limitation, an outer cover, or backsheet 270, a liquid permeable bodyside liner, or topsheet, 275 positioned in facing relation with the backsheet 270, and an absorbent core body, or liquid retention structure, 280, such as an absorbent pad, which is located between the backsheet 270 and the topsheet 275. The backsheet 270 defines a length, or longitudinal direction 286, and a width, or lateral direction 285 which, in the illustrated embodiment, coincide with the length and width of the diaper 250. The liquid retention structure 280 generally has a length and width that are less than the length and width of the backsheet 270, respectively. Thus, marginal portions of the diaper 250, such as marginal sections of the backsheet 270 may extend past the terminal edges of the liquid retention structure 280. In the illustrated embodiments, for example, the backsheet 270 extends outwardly beyond the terminal marginal edges of the liquid retention structure 280 to form side margins and end margins of the diaper 250. The topsheet 275 is generally coextensive with the backsheet 270 but may optionally cover an area which is larger or smaller than the area of the backsheet 270, as desired.
To provide improved fit and to help reduce leakage of body exudates from the diaper 250, the diaper side margins and end margins may be elasticized with suitable elastic members, as further explained below. For example, as representatively illustrated in
The film, web and filament laminates of the inventive structure and methods are suitable for use as the leg elastics 290 and waist elastics 295. Exemplary of such materials are laminate sheets which either comprise or are adhered to the backsheet, such that elastic constrictive forces are imparted to the backsheet 270.
As is known, fastening means, such as hook and loop fasteners, may be employed to secure the diaper 250 on a wearer. Alternatively, other fastening means, such as buttons, pins, snaps, adhesive tape fasteners, cohesives, fabric-and-loop fasteners, or the like, may be employed. In the illustrated embodiment, the diaper 250 includes a pair of side panels 300 (or ears) to which the fasteners 302, indicated as the hook portion of a hook and loop fastener, are attached. Generally, the side panels 300 are attached to the side edges of the diaper in one of the waist sections 255, 260 and extend laterally outward therefrom. The side panels 300 may be elasticized or otherwise rendered elastomeric by use of a single sided stretch bonded laminate made from the inventive structure. Examples of absorbent articles that include elasticized side panels and selectively configured fastener tabs are described in PCT Patent Application No. WO 95/16425 to Roessler; U.S. Pat. No. 5,399,219 to Roessler et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,540,796 to Fries; and U.S. Pat. No. 5,595,618 to Fries each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The diaper 250 may also include a surge management layer 305, located between the topsheet 275 and the liquid retention structure 280, to rapidly accept fluid exudates and distribute the fluid exudates to the liquid retention structure 280 within the diaper 250. The diaper 250 may further include a ventilation layer (not illustrated), also called a spacer, or spacer layer, located between the liquid retention structure 280 and the backsheet 270 to insulate the backsheet 270 from the liquid retention structure 280 to reduce the dampness of the garment at the exterior surface of a breathable outer cover, or backsheet, 270. Examples of suitable surge management layers 305 are described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,486,166 to Bishop and U.S. Pat. No. 5,490,846 to Ellis.
As representatively illustrated in
The diaper 250 may be of various suitable shapes. For example, the diaper may have an overall rectangular shape, T-shape or an approximately hour-glass shape. In the shown embodiment, the diaper 250 has a generally I-shape. Other suitable components which may be incorporated on absorbent articles of the present invention may include waist flaps and the like which are generally known to those skilled in the art. Examples of diaper configurations suitable for use in connection with the instant invention which may include other components suitable for use on diapers are described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,798,603 to Meyer et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,176,668 to Bernardin; U.S. Pat. No. 5,176,672 to Bruemmer et al.; U.S. Pat. No. 5,192,606 to Proxmire et al. and U.S. Pat. No. 5,509,915 to Hanson et al. each of which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
The various components of the diaper 250 are assembled together employing various types of suitable attachment means, such as adhesive bonding, ultrasonic bonding, thermal point bonding or combinations thereof. In the shown embodiment, for example, the topsheet 275 and backsheet 270 may be assembled to each other and to the liquid retention structure 280 with lines of adhesive, such as a hot melt, pressure-sensitive adhesive. Similarly, other diaper components, such as the elastic members 290 and 295, fastening members 302, and surge layer 305 may be assembled into the article by employing the above-identified attachment mechanisms.
It should be appreciated that such single side facing stretch bonded laminate materials may likewise be used in other personal care products, protective outerwear, protective coverings and the like. Further such materials can be used in bandage materials for both human and animal bandaging products. Use of such materials provide acceptable elastic performance at a lower manufacturing cost.
These and other modifications and variations to the present invention may be practiced by those of ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, which is more particularly set forth in the appended claims. In addition, it should be understood that aspects of the various embodiments may be interchanged both in whole or in part. Furthermore, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the foregoing description is by way of example only, and is not intended to limit the invention so further described in such appended claims.